Thursday, November 12, 2009

Song ratings

In the past I started posting some song "ratings" on the free Amazon sampler downloads. I thought I might extend this rating system into other albums as well. The ratings I use were entirely made up by myself, and are pretty much arbitrary on how the song strikes me. This is largely based on my gut reaction to the piece, and seldom has anything to do with the proficiency of the musicians or the technicality of the music. Each song gets its own rating and the overall album score is simply the average of all the individual song ratings. It's a six-point system.

0 - "Bad." Originally this meant that I hated the song so much that I just deleted it. I have since changed this because I don't want to delete all of them even if they are really bad. Sometimes I keep it because I don't want to have an incomplete album. Sometimes I keep it as a future reference for the kinds of songs I really hate. If I heard such a song on the radio I would immediately change the station.

1 - "Meh." Nothing to recommend it, but it isn't entirely offensive, either. One of these would probably make me change the radio station, or at least turn it down a little.

2 - "Okay." Just a run-of-the-mill song that is just fine as background music but which I wouldn't go out of my way for.

3 - "Nice." With a rating of 3, a song is beginning to get into the better categories. Any song of 3 or higher would prompt me to further investigate the artist and likely buy their album. A 3 song would likely make me turn up the radio and probably try to sing along with it if possible, but would probably not effect me much emotionally.

4 - "Good." These are songs that I really like, songs that I will always try to sing along with if I hear them on the radio, and songs that have an emotional impact on me. I may not be able to describe exactly the kind of emotional impact, but I can feel it in my soul.

5 - "Great." It's almost impossible for a song to get a 5 rating. These are songs that, for one reason or another, have a deep emotional impact on me, or songs that trigger strong memories. The biggest difference between a 5 song and a 4 song are the depth of emotion they trigger.

Because of the nature of this "system," it is very unlikely that pieces without lyrics can score very high, and almost completely impossible for any instrumental song to get a 5. It's a very rare non-lyrical composition that can give me that "hit in the gut" feeling, but it has happened.

I'm working on building a list of "favorites," which I consider songs that I would rate a 3 or higher, and a list of "favorite favorites," which will be a list of 5's or possibly 4's and 5's.

I don't really like quantifying music like this, but I figured if I'm going to blog about music, I have to come up with some way to give a rating that I can remember and be consistent about and most everyone else can more or less understand.


  1. I've heard a few instrumentals that I would have to rate a five, myself, but that's just me.

    Anvil of Crom
    The Lonely Bull
    Take Five

  2. I'm not familiar with those first four, but I would definitely put "Take Five" at the top of my list.

    I think "Watermelon Man" would be up there, too.

  3. Anvil of Crom was played during the opening credits on the soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian

    Exodus from the soundtrack of the movie

    The Lonely Bull Tijuana Brass

    Promenade opening of Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky

    You can probably find an example to each of them on the internet.